By analysing the genetic makeup of animals, plants and fungi, scientists have found that most species drive climate change in a positive way.
The new study has been published in the journal Biology Letters and will be discussed in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences next month.
Researchers looked at the genetic characteristics of 554 species of animals and plants and found that about 70% were driven by the same gene(s) that regulate climate change.
“There are a number of factors that drive climate, from the weather to the carbon cycle, but the most obvious is the genetic variability that exists between species,” Dr Richard Wainwright, from James Cook University, said.
“Some of these are relatively easy to understand, others are difficult.
We wanted to see which are the drivers of our planet’s changing climate.”
The researchers found that there were many genetic variants in the species that influence climate.
“Many species have multiple genes that regulate their behaviour, but most of them have only one,” Dr Wain Wright said.
“Many of the different genetic variants cause different effects, but these effects are more complex than the simple ’cause and effect’ model.”
Most of the species we studied are in a good way of being able to predict climate change, and that’s the key to their success.
The ability to understand how different genes influence different species is key to understanding how to make better use of our limited knowledge.””
We can see the genetic variation that drives climate change and how to control it, as well as the environmental consequences that we’re looking at,” Dr John Eades, the lead author from James Macquarie University, who was not involved in the research, said in a statement.
“The ability to understand how different genes influence different species is key to understanding how to make better use of our limited knowledge.”
Scientists are trying to understand why certain species are able to change their behaviour to adapt to changes in climate, and how that affects the other species that are affected.
“It’s an opportunity to study the evolutionary history of climate, the environmental impacts of climate and how these may change as species evolve,” Dr Eades said.